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Distributed for The Grolier Club

Rooms of Wonder

From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599–1899

With Contributions by Mark D. Tomasko
Signs of their creators’ status, wealth, and intellect, Wunderkammers (Cabinets of Curiosities) were special rooms or cabinets containing conglomerations of items, including paintings and drawings; plant specimens; animals (including monstrosities); shells and coral; fossils; coins and medals; ancient sculpture and tools (hopefully antique); gold and silver art objects, automata, and items of ethnographical interest from the New World, Africa, and East Asia—you name it! The proud owners of Wunderkammers sometimes published elaborate illustrated catalogues to document their collections. Rooms of Wonder showcases dozens of the rarest and most important of these books, drawn from the private library of curator Florence Fearrington, as well as from collections at Harvard’s Houghton Library, the Getty Research Institute Library, and the Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University. Also represented are tourists’ accounts of Wunderkammers, broadsides advertising traveling exhibitions, auction sale catalogues, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century advertisements for and tickets of admission to commercial ventures put together by such showmen as P. T. Barnum. Published in support of the 2012–13 Grolier Club exhibition, this catalogue takes readers on a tour of these remarkable rooms.

124 pages | color plates | 6 x 9


History of Science

Library Science and Publishing: Publishing

Reference and Bibliography

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Rooms of Wonder brings together the most important printed and graphic records of these proto-museums."

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